The economic downturn is another cause for concern. If it walks like a recession, and talks like a recession, then it’s probably a recession, bringing with it potential limitations on the opportunities for companies to make sales. The “R word” can often scare businesses into cutting costs and reducing budgets, perhaps by finding overseas suppliers with cheaper products—more reason salespeople may have to compete on the Web to attract and retain customers. And if your own company’s budgets have been reduced, you may find yourself dealing with cutbacks in spending on advertising, which only puts extra strain on your sales reps to come through.
These and other challenges can greatly impact the performance of field sales teams—and ultimately that of your company. In an economic downturn, the risk of seeing your profits shrink is high enough. But if your sales force is unproductive or immobilized, that risk is even greater.
What you may not know is that traditional, “same-old” sales force automation (SFA) and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions probably aren’t providing you with the help you need to maximize the productivity of your sales teams and make gains in your customer base—and your profit margins.
In fact, sales managers have tremendous difficulty getting the majority of their sales reps to use their CRM or SFA systems. According to AMR Research
, “33 to 47 percent of customer management applications [are] facing serious adoption issues”—a statistic that doesn’t even account for the reps who do use the system, but use it inefficiently.